Magnet a piece of iron or an ore, alloy or other material that has its component atoms so ordered that the material exhibits properties of magnetism, such as attracting other iron containing objects or aligning itself in an external magnetic field.
The most popular legend accounting for the discovery of magnets is that of an elderly Cretan shepherd named Magnes. Legend has it that Magnes was herding his sheep in an area of Northern Greece called Magnesia, about 4,000 years ago. Suddenly both, the nails in his shoes and the metal tip of his staff became firmly stuck to the large, black rock on which he was standing. To find the source of attraction he dug up the Earth to find lodestones (load = lead or attract). Lodestones contain magnetite, a natural magnetic material Fe3O4. This type of rock was subsequently named magnetite, after either Magnesia or Magnes himself.